PM May faces mounting criticism over London fire
Under mounting pressure after a botched election and facing criticism for not meeting victims of a London tower block blaze sooner, British Prime Minister Theresa May visited the injured in hospital on June 16 as the death toll rose to 30.
Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, London mayor Sadiq Khan, Prince William and Queen Elizabeth, 91, have visited residents from the 24-storey block destroyed on June 14 as many slept, with anger at the authorities growing in the local community.
May has been criticized from within her own Conservative Party over her response and she pledged on June 15 to hold a public inquiry into the fire at the social housing block which was home to about 600 people.
The toll is expected to rise.
May met victims privately at a central London hospital on Friday and had expressed her sorrow on television on Thursday after meeting emergency services personnel. “She should have been there with the residents. You have to be prepared to receive people’s emotions, and not be so frightened about people,” former Conservative minister Michael Portillo told the BBC.
May’s response has been contrasted with that of Corbyn, who hugged locals at the estate during his visit on June 15, and the royals who met residents and volunteers on June 16.
“That’s one of the most terrible things I have ever seen,” Prince William said of the fire which left the tower block a blackened shell.
Some desperate residents pleaded to speak to the royals about their plight and the fate of missing children as they left the site, with William promising he would return.
There has been growing fury at the low-rent estate where residents wanted answers on why the fire was able to spread so rapidly and why complaints about safety had been ignored.
London police said an investigation, led by a detective from its homicide and major crime unit, would examine whether criminal offences had been committed although they said there was nothing to suggest the fire was started deliberately.